According to a new LinuxMint blog post, Linux Mint 12 will use GNOME 3 with GNOME Shell by default. For those who prefer the classic GNOME 2.3x desktop, MATE (a GNOME 2.3x fork) will probably be included on the DVD edition.
Linux Mint 12 will use MGSE (Mint Gnome Shell Extensions) which makes it possible to use Linux Mint in a traditional way: a panel with a menu and window list on the bottom, switching between windows and not applications, system notification icons on top, classic ALT + TAB and more.
Among the extensions included in Linux Mint 12 are: bottom panel, classic ALT+TAB, MediaPlayer, noa11y, user theme, alternative status menu (shutdown menu), window list, smart overview as well as a cool new menu extension.
Here's a screenshot:
And of course, you can easily disable any extension that you don't want to use.
As for MATE, it will be available on the DVD edition if the existing bugs are fixed. MATE looks and behaves just like GNOME 2.3x, but it has an advantage: it doesn't conflict with GNOME 3, so both can be installed on the same system. However, some conflicts still exist, which block MATE from being included on the Linux Mint 12 DVD, for now anyway, but hopefully the bugs will be fixed in time for the Linux Mint 12 release.
Linux Mint releases are usually made around 20th of November, but as usual, the Mint release date is not fixed so expect Linux Mint 12 "when it's ready". The blog post also mentions that a release candidate should be available on 11th of November at the latest.
via / image credits: Linux Mint blog